America’s westward expansion created the “life in the Old West” this website is all about. But it wasn’t an orderly or well-planned expansion. Given the scope of people involved and the huge territory in which it took place, the migration westward ranks as one of the greatest population and cultural events of modern history. When you add in the cultural clashes and myriad details of America’s westward growth, it’s impossible to fathom all that the term “expansion” entailed in American history. You’ll find links below to an ever-growing collection of articles telling about the nation’s westward growth, from pioneers on foot or horseback to wagons and finally the growth of railroads. You’ll even read that westward expansion motivated by land and gold rushes reshaped even the environment of the entire continent. Within the articles in this “Western Expansion” category you’ll also find many links to real-time auctions at eBay on gold prospecting supplies and a wide variety of Western memorabilia.
… well actually, it isn’t a simple or easy matter to determine which newspaper was/is the oldest newspaper in the West, mostly because it is difficult to establish what geographic location constitutes “the West,” or “the Old West.” Depending on where you think the West started, there are several contenders. Based on a wealth of colorful history of newspapers and journalism in the Old West, there are a lot of interesting stories to be told.
While the onward march of the railroads is generally credited with bringing people to the Great Plains, it was only the technology of fencing that made serious settlement of the region possible. According to writer Richard O’Connor in his fascinating history of railroad expansion, “Iron Wheels and Broken Men,” railroads could have been built across and through the Plains as early as the 1850s and filled the region with people — but the development of effective fencing to make the region work for serious farming and settlement of the lands didn’t come along until the 1870s.